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Acute Achilles tendinopathy: effect of pain control on leg stiffness.

Tendinopathies are a major cause of disability in the athletic population; the main purpose of the treatment of these injuries is to reduce pain and improve function. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of NSAIDs on leg stiffness of patients suffering acute unilateral Achilles tendinopathy. Twenty-eight eligible male athletes (aged 39.1 ± 10.3 y) suffering acute Achilles tendinopathy were treated with etoricoxib (120 mg oral once daily) during 7 days. Pain (100-mm visual analogue scale-VAS), analgesic effect (percentage of 100-mm VAS reduction), and leg stiffness were evaluated pre- and post- anti-inflammatory treatment. Results of this study showed that over the 7-day treatment period, etoricoxib provided significant relief of Achilles tendon pain (VAS) compared to that experienced at baseline: 54.5 ± 21.6 and 24.5 ± 24.8, respectively (p<0.001). Leg stiffness showed a significant improvement after one-week NSAID therapy: LSR 0.89 ± 0.1 vs. 0.97 ± 0.1; (p=0.02). In conclusion, findings of this study demonstrated that patients suffering acute unilateral Achilles tendinopathy increased their leg stiffness of the affected side after oral anti-inflammatory therapy. Effective control of tendon pain in the acute phase of such sports-related injuries may contribute to improve capabilities associated with high performance like leg stiffness.

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